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Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/29/2020 9:42:09 AM   
Miletkir


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I briefly mentioned this in my reply to the "Reveal" thread, but this is eating me away, so I'll make a full thread for it. I could not see any character tab in the UI, and this makes me suspicious that the character concept has not been implemented, or, considering the fixed size of the menu and the fact that it hasn't moved since December 2019, even planned for DW2.

That would be a shame, obviously, given how considerably characters contributed to roleplay and gameplay in DWU - at least for me. There was certainly a cosmetic aspect to it, and balancing things out when spies are included is not a straightforward business, but I considered it so fundamental to the immersive atmosphere of DWU.

So, I worry over nothing, and somehow there will be a character tab, right?
Post #: 1
RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/29/2020 1:48:16 PM   
ASHBERY76


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I don't see any in the fleet UI.

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/29/2020 2:41:43 PM   
Siddham

 

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Distant Worlds as we have it today (Universe) is the product of 4 releases and many patches over a number of years.
As far as I know the character system was introduced to Distant Worlds in the second expansion - Legends.
Likewise I expect DW2 will have a post initial release development cycle involving patches and expansions.
I really do think it is best not to expect too much of the initial release - the initial release will not be the final game.
My hope is that what is present in the initial release will be a strong start and base for a game that enhances and expands on the systems & themes of DW.

(in reply to ASHBERY76)
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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/29/2020 3:26:44 PM   
Galaxy227


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As much as I want to agree with you Siddham, I personally think that the sequel to DW:U shouldn't remove systems that are as integral to the playing experience as characters.

For comparison, I'll use Paradox Interactive's Crusader Kings 3, as I believe it is a good sequel to its predecessor, CK2. Instead of CK3 completely removing core systems of gameplay the developers deemed flawed, they instead worked to revitalize and improve upon the playing experience of said core systems—as any good sequel should. CK3 did see a few features and systems removed, however none of which were as integral as characters are in DW:U, and CK3's developers have promised to rework the removed features in future expansions. Point being, good sequels improve upon their predecessor's systems, and rarely strip them from the game entirely. Characters are not to be stripped, even if they were to be added in a later DLC, for they are too integral to the playing experience.

One could make the argument that perhaps DW:U's characters are not in fact integral to the playing experience, and are therefore rightfully removed and later open to future improvements by the means of DLC. However, I would argue otherwise. Firstly, there isn't anything inherently wrong with the character system in DW:U, which leads me to my second point: I'd rather have what exists in DW:U than nothing at all. The fact that Miletkir made this thread solely to confirm the existence of characters in DW2 goes to show just how prized they are throughout Distant Worlds. Characters make up a significant portion of the role-playing and immersive experience, and I'd argue DW2 is not better off without them. Although I am subjectively speaking, I'd say a majority shares my view and considers them integral.

I can only hope they won't be absent on launch. Again, a carbon-copy of the character system from DW:U ported into DW2 is better than no character system at all. I can see how the absence of characters at launch could be due to time constraints, however at that point I'd argue DW2 is being released prematurely.

Only time will tell.



< Message edited by Galaxy227 -- 12/29/2020 3:28:30 PM >

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/29/2020 8:32:11 PM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Galaxy227

As much as I want to agree with you Siddham, I personally think that the sequel to DW:U shouldn't remove systems that are as integral to the playing experience as characters.

I can't say that I agree with you that characters are an integral part of the game; the only characters who regularly have an easily-visible effect in the game are espionage agents, and as far as I'm concerned nothing of value would be lost by their removal. The other character types are just passive bonus applicators, and while managing them probably produces better results on average than ignoring them they're also not something that really matters.

Also, generally speaking I find character management by far the least interesting and least enjoyable part of a 4X-, RTS-, TBS-, empire-builder-, or tycoon-type game, whether it's Warcraft, Age of Wonders, Distant Worlds, Total War, HoMM, SoaSE (counting capital ships and titans as "characters"), or something else. Even in something like Crusader Kings, character management isn't really the interesting bit - the interesting bit is managing the relations to maintain a favorable balance of power and advance your own objectives. It's basically a diplomacy simulator, not a character management simulator.

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/29/2020 8:47:23 PM   
Galaxy227


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Come to think of it, I suppose characters aren't terribly necessary when it comes to the 4X genre. Perhaps I've enjoyed them a bit too much in Distant Worlds. Apologies if my original comment came off as too stern, aggressive, demanding, etc.

I have good faith in DW2's developers. If characters are to be stripped then so be it. I'll miss them though!

< Message edited by Galaxy227 -- 12/29/2020 8:48:13 PM >

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/29/2020 10:08:42 PM   
Miletkir


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Starting with Master of Orion, spies are present in virtually every game of this type because they dramatically expand and alter the gameplay in such an important way beyond just the race to military strength that, to me, not implementing them today is a real cut on gameplay. Even, I don't know, Star Wars: Rebellion had spies. Because they are not cosmetic: they can really turn tides for a power with weaker military.

But characters are also not just stat modifiers. They give an identity to your game. To me, DWU drives me because, indeed, there's something that feels alive about it, and there are so many details I would call realistic compared to other games. So it means that a lot of work has gone into immersion, into building galaxies we can relate to in many ways, where we can see stories unfolding. And that's the point: the story. Characters are important because they give a face to the stories of the game, even if you're not into roleplay. Governors, admirals, generals gaining experience also gives a sense of progression, and again makes the gameplay so much more interesting when small forces lead by experienced leaders can defeat much larger but less organized ones.

Take two different strategy games that built a large part of their success on the concept of characters: Stellaris and Total War: Attila. Stellaris without characters wouldn't deliver on the immersion and the story building, and the direction the game has taken since (building federations and a galactic senate...) shows that a lot of players out there like characters for the stories they're telling, as a sort of feedback on your own game. TW:A is based on dynasties, and the connection between the conquests and the familial affairs is what's so captivating about it. There's even a 4x-like galactic game being developed that's centered only on dynasties and diplomacy... No one's expecting characters to become that important in DW2, but their absence would feel like a big void for many reasons. I also get that the initial release may not be feature-complete, but I really hope this is considered a priority beyond that.

(in reply to Galaxy227)
Post #: 7
RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/30/2020 10:34:02 AM   
Grognerd_INC


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Miletkir

Starting with Master of Orion, spies are present in virtually every game of this type because they dramatically expand and alter the gameplay in such an important way beyond just the race to military strength that, to me, not implementing them today is a real cut on gameplay. Even, I don't know, Star Wars: Rebellion had spies. Because they are not cosmetic: they can really turn tides for a power with weaker military.

But characters are also not just stat modifiers. They give an identity to your game. To me, DWU drives me because, indeed, there's something that feels alive about it, and there are so many details I would call realistic compared to other games. So it means that a lot of work has gone into immersion, into building galaxies we can relate to in many ways, where we can see stories unfolding. And that's the point: the story. Characters are important because they give a face to the stories of the game, even if you're not into roleplay. Governors, admirals, generals gaining experience also gives a sense of progression, and again makes the gameplay so much more interesting when small forces lead by experienced leaders can defeat much larger but less organized ones.

Take two different strategy games that built a large part of their success on the concept of characters: Stellaris and Total War: Attila. Stellaris without characters wouldn't deliver on the immersion and the story building, and the direction the game has taken since (building federations and a galactic senate...) shows that a lot of players out there like characters for the stories they're telling, as a sort of feedback on your own game. TW:A is based on dynasties, and the connection between the conquests and the familial affairs is what's so captivating about it. There's even a 4x-like galactic game being developed that's centered only on dynasties and diplomacy... No one's expecting characters to become that important in DW2, but their absence would feel like a big void for many reasons. I also get that the initial release may not be feature-complete, but I really hope this is considered a priority beyond that.

Spies in a science fiction game always remind me of a Gary Larson "Farside" cartoon! The one that has a bug eyed monster in a trench coat!

_____________________________

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/30/2020 12:16:05 PM   
Siddham

 

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For me the issue is not whether there should or should not be characters in a 4X game. Whether they are essential or not. Each player has their own opinion about that.
For me the issue is setting up demands and expectations and thereby setting up to be possibly disappointed and maybe even resentful of the initial release.
I will take the initial release on its own merits. I dont expect or demand that it be the final game. I expect and I hope it will be the first stage of the development cycle.
Last time out this Dev produce what in my opinion is a classic game and I will trust his instincts and skills as DW2 is developed.


< Message edited by Siddham -- 12/30/2020 1:17:13 PM >

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/30/2020 2:23:07 PM   
Miletkir


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This is a (yet to be confirmed) disappointment, but obviously I remain fully supportive of the project and looking forward to the beta. Yes, I suppose I had expectations, but only based on the experience that DWU had to offer.

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/30/2020 11:18:17 PM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Miletkir

Starting with Master of Orion, spies are present in virtually every game of this type because they dramatically expand and alter the gameplay in such an important way beyond just the race to military strength that, to me, not implementing them today is a real cut on gameplay. Even, I don't know, Star Wars: Rebellion had spies. Because they are not cosmetic: they can really turn tides for a power with weaker military.

In not one single game that I have ever played has an active espionage and sabotage system amounted to anything more than a rarely-useful system which allows the computer to harass the human player while providing no meaningful avenues of counterplay. Take the system in Distant Worlds, for example: Sure, you'll have a couple of spies, but so do each of the ten or twenty computer-controlled empires, and so do each of the dozens of pirate factions, and if even a couple of them dislike the human player's empire then you'll see a lot more hostile agent activity than you can put out. Furthermore, how do you engage with it - say foreign agents are blowing up random minor space stations in your empire, what do you do? Basically, nothing - you just put up with it and hope that a coinflip goes your way sooner rather than later; maybe you move the responsible parties to the top of your hit list if you know which empires or pirate factions are responsible for the activity, and if you're feeling really vindictive you build a fleet of bombardment ships or go dig up a planet-killer. As far as using it yourself goes, how many developed empires can actually be crippled by a sabotage and assassination campaign? Unless a computer-controlled empire holds the Bakuras High Speed Shipyard, there probably aren't any especially critical spaceports for your agent to blow up; likewise, most resources are plentiful enough that using a couple agents to blow up mines is mostly a waste of time. Similarly, few colonies are valuable enough for a successfully-incited rebellion there to really matter. You're probably not going to successfully assassinate a good character, but even if you do, how much does the loss of a fleet commander, a scientist, an empire leader, or a colony governor really matter? Usually, not much - and the computer probably wasn't making enough of them for assassinating the character to be worth the trouble, anyways. Does triggering a change of government in another empire really help you that much? Probably not; there's no way to control which government type gets chosen, so at best it's a chance to fragment an empire. Basically, these things are ways for the computer to harass the human player; they are not particularly useful tools for the human player to employ against the computer.

Beyond that, the whole espionage and sabotage system is just a hidden RNG roll - hurray, you won a coinflip and so your agent brought back an operations map or blew up some random space station somewhere or whatever. Don't you feel so good about how skillfully you've employed your assets to accomplish your objectives - oh, wait, the only thing you had any influence over was target selection, and then the computer rolled a die somewhere you can't see and said you won. How satisfying.

(in reply to Miletkir)
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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/31/2020 4:51:47 AM   
Retreat1970


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^ This

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/31/2020 10:09:20 AM   
Miletkir


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I’ve often had to assassinate spies harassing me, although that wasn’t possible in DWU (it is passively replaced with counter-espionage, which is a more plausible mechanic). It can be risky, but sabotaging an enemy starbase early in game could give enough time to build up your defences. Inciting a revolt in a colony can speed up the conquest and spare some essential troops. Perhaps what’s been most useful to me with spies was the ability to reveal active fleet movements, particularly in DWU where (hallelujah) you don’t have starlanes. Espionage in DWU (and the character system in general) was likely the most elaborate, sensible and useful I’ve come across, even if I was using it a lot more than the AI did. Spies gain experience too, so what can be really satisfying beyond a random successful roll is to have built a strong Intelligence network for your faction. As you said, in the end, it depends on the approach of the player to the game, but that applies to other gameplay mechanics too.

I agree that enemy spies may feel like an annoyance sometimes, but, well, that’s what they’re supposed to be. Spies shouldn’t be too powerful because they shouldn’t take over the rest of the strategy. So, yes, espionnage can seem like a game in the game and that’s why y’all are saying it’s non-essential. But to me, it’s been part of the gameplay, especially in DWU, on top of the fact that characters in general can change the whole feeling of the game.

That being said, in the end, we all want something compelling and fun, so if characters and especially spies have not succeeded in doing that in the eyes of many players, it’s all in the devs' honor to have acknowledged that and to have put the system aside, at least temporarily. But I’m not giving up!


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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/31/2020 1:30:02 PM   
Franky007


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When playing as a pirate, spies where critical in finding the location of other pirate bases or stealing their tech.

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/31/2020 3:21:06 PM   
Siddham

 

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Dont forget! we dont know at this point, so far as I am aware, that the dev has or will put aside characters...this is all speculation.
Lets not get our fears or hopes up before we even know what is or is not in the initial release.

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/31/2020 9:12:32 PM   
shockk

 

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Im always on the side of characters not really being good for strategy games. I understand people want it for roleplay reasons, but it always adds so much micro management for little to no gameplay benefits. Granted good games like distant worlds let to automate most or all of it away so its normally fine if they existed in a game. However if the game is truly challenging, which i hope it is, you want to use every tool available which means your stuck micromanaging all the characters. Then you also run into crazy limitations like a nation of millions/billions/trillions depending the the game only having a max of 3 leaders/spies/general/etc at a time. Which mechanically might be good but theme wise makes no sense. The only time iv seen chars as a debatable good thing is in grand strategy where the bonuses of a commander can help customize the role of a army/formation, but its only when the game is crazy competitive and generates massive amounts of micro management.

Im with the others on this thread that espionage systems need to be actively removed from existence. Any time espionage is added to a game, the game gets worse. There is only 1 game iv ever seen with a good espionage system (blanking on the name). The only reason it was good was because it effectively became the main way to get research, it was simple/low micro, and it served as a balancing mechanic (you could do other things besides steal tech but no reason to do so and the game would of been better with all the other options removed).

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 12/31/2020 11:18:44 PM   
Shogouki


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Aeson


quote:

ORIGINAL: Miletkir

Starting with Master of Orion, spies are present in virtually every game of this type because they dramatically expand and alter the gameplay in such an important way beyond just the race to military strength that, to me, not implementing them today is a real cut on gameplay. Even, I don't know, Star Wars: Rebellion had spies. Because they are not cosmetic: they can really turn tides for a power with weaker military.

In not one single game that I have ever played has an active espionage and sabotage system amounted to anything more than a rarely-useful system which allows the computer to harass the human player while providing no meaningful avenues of counterplay. Take the system in Distant Worlds, for example: Sure, you'll have a couple of spies, but so do each of the ten or twenty computer-controlled empires, and so do each of the dozens of pirate factions, and if even a couple of them dislike the human player's empire then you'll see a lot more hostile agent activity than you can put out. Furthermore, how do you engage with it - say foreign agents are blowing up random minor space stations in your empire, what do you do? Basically, nothing - you just put up with it and hope that a coinflip goes your way sooner rather than later; maybe you move the responsible parties to the top of your hit list if you know which empires or pirate factions are responsible for the activity, and if you're feeling really vindictive you build a fleet of bombardment ships or go dig up a planet-killer. As far as using it yourself goes, how many developed empires can actually be crippled by a sabotage and assassination campaign? Unless a computer-controlled empire holds the Bakuras High Speed Shipyard, there probably aren't any especially critical spaceports for your agent to blow up; likewise, most resources are plentiful enough that using a couple agents to blow up mines is mostly a waste of time. Similarly, few colonies are valuable enough for a successfully-incited rebellion there to really matter. You're probably not going to successfully assassinate a good character, but even if you do, how much does the loss of a fleet commander, a scientist, an empire leader, or a colony governor really matter? Usually, not much - and the computer probably wasn't making enough of them for assassinating the character to be worth the trouble, anyways. Does triggering a change of government in another empire really help you that much? Probably not; there's no way to control which government type gets chosen, so at best it's a chance to fragment an empire. Basically, these things are ways for the computer to harass the human player; they are not particularly useful tools for the human player to employ against the computer.

Beyond that, the whole espionage and sabotage system is just a hidden RNG roll - hurray, you won a coinflip and so your agent brought back an operations map or blew up some random space station somewhere or whatever. Don't you feel so good about how skillfully you've employed your assets to accomplish your objectives - oh, wait, the only thing you had any influence over was target selection, and then the computer rolled a die somewhere you can't see and said you won. How satisfying.


I find using agents for technology theft is really powerful. It IS very RNG though.

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 1/1/2021 4:25:23 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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It's worth noting that characters were not in the original DW1, we added them in the expansions. With that said, characters are in DW2.

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 1/1/2021 10:36:30 AM   
Miletkir


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Wanted to post a fireworks gif as a reply to that, but I can't, so I'll just:

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 1/1/2021 11:47:17 AM   
Whiskiz

 

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Turns out people were fretting over a problem that didn't exist, based on very limited information.

Can we please not do that, just this once.

< Message edited by Whiskiz -- 1/1/2021 12:15:40 PM >

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 1/1/2021 12:59:52 PM   
Miletkir


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Whiskiz

Turns out people were fretting over a problem that didn't exist, based on very limited information.

Can we please not do that, just this once.


Well, I just started out asking. I think everyone was aware we still needed confirmation. This thread turned out to be more of an opportunity for people to spell things out about how they viewed the role of spies and characters.

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 1/1/2021 1:20:21 PM   
Whiskiz

 

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Actually you started by saying it was already "eating away at you" and the need to "make a full thread about it" and that because you couldn't see something in the limited information given, you were "suspicious" then went on to say how it'd be a shame if it wasn't added etc.

You finished your post with a question, after all that, asking if there will indeed be characters as if to underline your point of it being bad if not more than anything else.

That's definitely fretting

< Message edited by Whiskiz -- 1/1/2021 1:23:43 PM >

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Post #: 22
RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 1/1/2021 3:54:06 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Well, it's true that (at least at this point in development) there's no top level button for characters, so I understand why folks wondered. They are one level down and the final interface organization is still subject to change based on testing and feedback.

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 1/1/2021 5:54:05 PM   
Miletkir


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Whiskiz

Actually you started by saying it was already "eating away at you" and the need to "make a full thread about it" and that because you couldn't see something in the limited information given, you were "suspicious" then went on to say how it'd be a shame if it wasn't added etc.

You finished your post with a question, after all that, asking if there will indeed be characters as if to underline your point of it being bad if not more than anything else.

That's definitely fretting


Fine... Guilty as charged.

Anyway, thanks Erik for sharing that piece of info with us. No more freaking out until the beta is announced.

(in reply to Whiskiz)
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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 1/2/2021 1:52:43 AM   
Jorgen_CAB

 

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Aside for captains in DW1 I usually enjoyed the characters as they gave allot of flavor. Captains on the other hand had too little impact on the game as a whole and wasted a bit of space in the character screen. From a role-play perspective I think you could enjoy captains but even then I think it had some limitations.

(in reply to Miletkir)
Post #: 25
RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 1/2/2021 6:37:19 AM   
Retreat1970


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Exactly. All my captains were drunks. A good ambassador was useful. A good spy was game breaking and needs nerfing. My last posted AAR had an uber spy that almost won the game for me by himself.

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Post #: 26
RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 1/2/2021 7:25:50 AM   
Siddham

 

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Well after all the fuss there it is
I'm glad there will be characters; I find overall they do add another layer of immersion
Thank you for clarifying Erik

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 1/2/2021 10:41:46 AM   
Hyperion1


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About characters I profite to orbiting around the subject but there are still in 2D, 2D animated or 3D?

It's for prepare myself psychologically with the amont of modding necessary.

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 3/8/2021 4:11:14 PM   
boolybooly

 

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I dont mind characters but I dont dwell on them.

I think there are different styles of play, one is roleplay which the more forgiving fans enjoy because they accept any eventuality and turn it into a story.

The other is gameplay, which is what I enjoy, where one uses the rules of the game to construct or create something emerging from them to effect change in the game.

As a gameplayer I like mechanics but dont appreciate RND events and really loathe the random drunk event because it and its ilk just happen too often.

Even from a role playing perspective I hate it, why appoint a ships captain if they are drunkard lowlifes but worse than that it screws up my ships carefully balanced to make speed 35 to best take out Kaltors. Suddenly a captain is puking all over the console and ship ship goes slower and gets torn to shreds? No I dont think so, when maneuver goes down the only gameplay option I have is they are dismissed, no rehab, no court martial, why have an event if you cannot respond to it effectively? RND drunk happens so often I either edit or dont have any captains. It was funny once, OK? Ditto leaders, IMHO balance is way off and there are too many negative events for characters which contribute nothing but "embuggerance", to coin a Terry Pratchet phrase, in DW1.

If you have characters in DW2 and RND events changing their traits, I would really appreciate it if one of the game conditions could be an option to stipulate no negative trait events, like the no disasters setting, which I definitely have on in my games. A negative trait is no fun when it means you have to dismiss or edit your characters or save surf all the time. I just dont enjoy it. ALternatively if there were creative remedies available then OK it might be fun. Just dropping a cowpat in your lap every 50 seconds, not so much.

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RE: Are characters gone in DW2? - 3/8/2021 5:50:19 PM   
Rising-Sun


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From: Clifton Park, NY
Status: offline
Characters can be useful or annoying to have, idk i guess it alright. When i played Master of Orion III, i did enjoy having them, but i didnt like the ideas that it was random. Like you are playing the a specie that has something doesnt belong there.

It can bring in some insight to the game, but its not really important, unless you planning heavy into roleplaying.

Like in Stellaris, you gotta have so much gold bars to support a science vessel and leader to operate it, limited of what you can have. That i didnt like.

< Message edited by Rising-Sun -- 3/8/2021 5:52:04 PM >


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(in reply to boolybooly)
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